Jeff and David have been working with the musicians of New Orleans for a few years now and their latest album, the Spirit of New Orleans Volume 2, is the second of three albums they recorded in New Orleans in 2019.
New Orleans is a melting pot of culture and creativity, that has exerted an influence on the world’s music that’s entirely out of proportion to its physical size (less than 400,000 residents). Like Liverpool, it’s a port city that has absorbed a kaleidoscope of influences from the millions that have passed through it, and the trials and tribulations that it has faced.. That has created something that is uniquely its own – including language, food, music and style.
Mardi Gras has a mythology all its own too – colour, energy and vibrancy – traditions within traditions, marching clubs, known as krewes. All with their own unique uniforms, legends and customs – with exotic names like the 610 stompers, the Ritmeaux Krewe, The Organ Grinders (with their attendant Monkey Spankers), the Disco Amigos, The North Side Skull and Bone Gang, the Muff-a-Lottas and many others.
And bringing it all together in the Big Easy is the music. It’s an aural record of the city’s history, reflected in a gumbo of Dixieland jazz, R&B, marching bands, the music of Sicily and Cuba, rock and roll and Hip-hop.
New Orleans came together in its annual joyous celebration of life and humanity on March 5 this year – just before the virus struck. Jeff and David were there to work on the new album – and soak up some of the city’s energy in the process.
Says Jeff: “The city’s music – and its musicians – make up the fabric of one of the most iconic places on earth. As a musician it’s a privilege to go there and work with the guys who are living in and carrying on this musical tradition.”
Says David: “The quality and skills of the musicians in New Orleans who bring our music to life, is evident in all they do. Many of them come from families who are steeped in the tradition across generations. Working with them is a joy.”
The line-up for the new album was as follows. All musicians are New Orleans-based unless shown otherwise.
Trumpets – Mark Braud and Leon Brown,
Trombones – Mark Mullins and Craig Klein,
Clarinet – Evan Christopher,
Saxes – Jason Mingledorff,
Piano – Josh Paxton, and Leandro Lopez Varady (Chicago),
Organ – John ‘Papa’ Gros, and Steve Lodder (London),
Bass & Sousaphone – Matt Perrine,
Bass – Ryan Trebilcock (London),
Drums – Eric Bolivar,
Guitar & Banjo – Don Vappie,
Guitar– Chris Siebold (Chicago),
Vocals – Aurora Nealand, Dana Abbott, Sean Carey, Derek Procell (Chicago), Paul Mabin (Chicago), and Greg Stafford,
Vocals & Percussion – Jeff Meegan (Chicago),
Vocals & Organ – David Tobin (Yorkshire UK).
Studio 1: Esplanade NOLA – Engineer: Mischa Kachkachvilli,
Studio 2: Music Shed NOLA – Engineer: Jack Miele